At 31,000 Years Old, Two Children's Teeth and Their Ancient DNA Unravel Mystery of Human Migration

The two children’s teeth were found deep within the frosty muck. Each was smaller than a dime.Russian archaeologist Vladimir Pitulko discovered them a dozen years ago along the bank of the Yana River in northern Siberia. He didn’t realize it at the time, but he’d uncovered the oldest human remains ever to be found in the Arctic. Preserved within their enamel-shelled cores is ancient DNA. The information encoded in that genetic material can enrich our understanding of humanity’s prehistoric past. And scientists have recently learned how to decode it.The 31,000-year-old teeth and their DNA were part of a larger study, co-authored by an anthropologist at Southern Methodist University, that analyzed 34 ancient human remains scattered across the Siberian tundra. The findings, published this summer in the journal Nature, provided insights into the earliest human voyage through arctic Siberia during the last Ice Age. The people would eventually populate the Americas, giving rise to modern Native Americans.  Continue reading...

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